Hobby Farms Editors
March 19, 2009


Small farmers and the food supply, as well as consumers and others may not benefit from NAIS

Describing NAIS as fundamentally flawed, more than 70 leading food and agricultural groups have signed a letter urging U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to “halt implementation of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS),” according to the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.

The groups include the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF), the National Family Farm Coalition, Organic Consumers Association, Farm Aid, Local Harvest, National Association of Farm Animal Welfare and numerous livestock associations from across the nation.


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The letter states adamantly that NAIS:
  • Does not address food safety while favoring vertically integrated food producers, which are part of the factory food system that has led to the outbreaks of food poisoning.

  • Ends animal tracking at the time of slaughter, failing to focus on programs such as increased testing for Mad Cow disease, improved oversight of slaughterhouses and food processing facilities, and increased inspections of imported foods, all which would better serve food safety.
  • Imposes significant reporting and paperwork burdens on small farms, while relieving most of the costs and paperwork burdens from the factory farms.

The letter reads, “This burdensome, ill-conceived, and badly implemented program will undermine the President’s vision for rural America.”

Judith McGeary, a signatory to the letter who is president of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance and a member of the board of the FTCLDF, says the organizations that signed the letter represent a cross section of grass-roots and national organizations that are concerned about the impact of NAIS on family farms, consumers and sustainable livestock operations.

Says McGeary,“NAIS runs counter to President Obama’s Rural Plan which calls for supporting local family farmers and regional food system policies.”

The letter also highlights significant opposition to NAIS in the form of:

  • Four states (Arizona, Kentucky, Missouri, and Nebraska ) passing laws that prohibit their state agencies from implementing a mandatory program.

  • Other states introducing more than a dozen other bills since 2007 to either bar NAIS completely or to limit it to a voluntary, non-coercive program.

The stop-NAIS letter was submitted to the USDA on Monday, March 16.

A copy of the letter and a list of signatories is available at: http://farmandranchfreedom.org/content/files/Ltr_Vilsack_090316.pdf

Congress Hearing Bills
Also according to the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance website, Congress is currently reviewing NAIS and Food Safety Bills.

You can send written testimony to the Subcommittee before Friday, March 20. According to the website:

  • Send your testimony to the Hearing Clerk, Jamie Mitchell, at Jamie.Mitchell@mail.house.gov or fax to 202-225-4544. 

  • Put “March 11 Hearing – Animal Identification Programs” in the subject line
  • Keep your comments clear, polite, and concise.

Source: The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA),  a non-profit organization dedicated to representing non-corporate agriculture and animal owners, from homesteaders to horse owners to full-time ranchers. FARFA’s work also serves those who are local foods consumers, people who care about protecting our traditional way of life, and other like-minded individuals.

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